The Eugene Register-Guard
Lane County, Oregon
Tuesday, December 20, 2010
Cheryl Ann Alekner of Eugene, also known as Anna Armaiti, died Nov. 18 of ovarian cancer at age 55. A possible service is pending.
She was born May 29, 1955, in Decatur, Ill., to William Lee and Virginia Jane Walkinshaw Alekner. Her life partner was Daniel Ishaq Jud.
She graduated from Napa High School. She was a bookkeeper, fundraiser, artist and designer.
Survivors include her father.
Arrangements by Alpha Cremation Services in Eugene.
A longtime member of the Spirit booth in Community Village, Anna Armaiti (aka Cheryl Alekner, aka Ophidia) passed from this earthly plane on Nov. 18, 2010, after a two-year struggle with ovarian cancer.
She was born Cheryl Ann Alekner on May 29, 1955, in Decatur, Illinois, to William Lee and Virginia Jan Walkinshaw Alekner. Early on,her family moved to Napa, California, where she graduated from Napa
High School.She later moved to Berkeley, California, and became a bookkeeper while also studying with feminist spirituality teacher Vicki Noble.
During this time, Cher (as she was known) adopted the name Ophidiaand kept more than 100 reptile pets in her apartment, including a three-foot Savannah monitor Lizard who lived in the bathrom, Marley the South African Burrowing Bullfrog, Ishi the iguana, and several boas. As Ophidia became more immersed in feminist spirituality, she found that her bookkeeping job did not match her personal ethics, and quit.
In the 1980s, she joined Berkeley’s Emerald Earth Laughing and Drumming Society, where she met Don St. Clair. They became partners for almost a decade. Her original chants and songs were published in “Songs for Earthlings,” compiled by Jess Shoup. She performed at
several large group rituals in the San Francisco Bay area,including events facilitated by feminist authors Riane Eisler and Starhawk. Anna also was a musician along with Don at Unity of the Spirit Church in Lafayette, California, and a member of Berkeley’s Gorilla Choir, along
with Don and his future partner, Fiora. The Gorilla Choir performed at many events, ranging from San Francisco Earth Day 1990 to the Oregon Country Fair.In 1990, Don and Anna (performing as “Dawn and Ophidia”) traveled on a 20-city tour with the Redwood Summer national road show to promote saving the last coastal old-growth redwoods. Their live album,“Songs for Redwood Summer,” will be released for free online soon.Don brought Anna to her first Rainbow Gathering and her first Oregon Country Fair. An avid gardener, she fell in love with Eugene her first day after walking to Sundance and noticing the many front-yard gardens. She moved to Eugene in 1993. She and Don parted ways amicably a while later.
In Eugene, Anna became a member of the Sufi and Pagan communities. She participated in the Spirit Booth at the Oregon Country Fair,and performed with the Middle Eastern Dance Guild and with the band Americanistan.
In 1995, Anna met her soulmate, Daniel Ishaq Jud, a Sufi teacher. They shared a home, a passion for music, and their lives until he died in 2006of early onset diabetes.
Anna had a beautiful voice, played guitar, led Dances of Universal Peace in and outside the Community Village, and was a prolific song-writer. She worked in many artistic media, including photography, T-shirt design and painting. She was a garage sale queen, avid gardener,cat lover and fashionista.
Anna is preceeded in death by her mother. She is survived by her father, and her two kitties Sequoia and Akbar (who have since found new loving homes). We love you, Anna, and wish you peace.
Canver Survivors Network
American Canver Society
New to this Site, but not new to Ovarian Cancer
Thu, 08/05/2010 - 4:03pm — armaiti
It was last May 14th that I went into have surgery and gave birth to a five pound ovarian tumor. I was classified as stage 3C. It was not a joyful day for me. My beloved partner had passed away on July 26, 2006, and I'd been grieving ever since then. Getting cancer on top of everything else just seemed the last straw.
Luckily, I had a wonderful, wonderful surgeon, Audrey Garrett, who is a total angel and very supportive. My spiritual community came together to take care of me too after my surgery, with folks here every day bringing food. I was only 104 pounds when I got home from the hospital - down from 135. I had wanted to lose 20 pounds but this was not exactly the way I'd had in mind!
I talked to an oncologist and decided to have the carboplatin and taxol chemo, though I also did a lot of alternative treatement. The day after chemo I would have a Reiki clearing session, then the day after that I'd have acupuncture. I did a ton of supplements. And I'd lay on the ground out in my yard and ask the earth to take what I didn't need from the chemo into the earth.
I lost my hair after the first treatment. I had donated it as it had been down to my waist. I ordered a ton of wigs on eBay (I got the idea from Sex and the City where Samantha gets breast cancer and wears a different wig every day). So some days I was a redhead, sometimes long brown hair like my own, and my favorite - a 30" long dreadlocks wig!
October was my last chemo. My tumor number was down to 4 and all looked good. I was feeling better, stronger and healthy. In January I actually started dating a lovely man, and we spent many long hours hiking the Oregon wilderness. My hair started growing back, an it all my tests looked good
Then in April I started having pains in my stomach. I had a recurring stomach flu - just like what had happened before I was diagnosed the year before. I didn't want to admit it, but I knew. The cancer was back. I went in for a CT and my oncologist found two small growths in my abdomen. I said I didn't want to do any debilitating chemos, but she did tell me about the Doxil. I was hospitalized shortly after that for uncontrollable vomiting and pain in the stomach, which turned out to be the acites. I as drained in the hospital, and had my first Doxil. I had to be drained twice more in the next two weeks.
I went to my acupuncturist and he worked with me both with needles and with a micro-electrical current machine. After starting treatment with him, I've not had to be drained again and my stomach is much more comfortable.
Still, this is very scary. I didn't think it would come back. I don't know what the future holds. I'm still 104 pounds, even though I eat a decent amount. I get mild rashes from the Doxil, but not too bad. My sweetie is ever so supportive of what I'm going through, he's been there through several ER visits as have been other friends. I find I'm tired, just bone tired, a lot of the time. Whether it's the cancer, the Doxil or the other meds (Ativan and Vicodan), or a combo, I'm not sure. I do know I'm greatful for such a supportive community, and supportive boyfriend, to help me get through this. Oh, and of course, supportive cats. My two year old, Sequoyah, knows when I'm feeling worst and will snuggle up on my shoulder, gazing into my eyes with his wide, green, concerned ones.
So that's the beginning of my story. I still do a ton of supplements, meditation practices, massage, Reiki, acupuncture. Anything that might help I'm open to try. I just lost a friend last week to bladder cancer. And I have friends who are hanging on long past what the doctors said they would do. I try to not be scared by the statistics, and know I'm an individual. I guess in the long run, like all of us, I'm just doing the best I can with the deck I got handed.
Blessings to you all,
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